ywca west central michigan

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programs counseling/crisis: counseling

YWCA counseling services are provided by master level clinicians specially trained in the areas of domestic violence, child sexual abuse, and sexual assault. Staff members have advanced training and certification in the TLC (National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children) model of trauma resolution for children.

In addition, therapists utilize a variety of treatment modalities including brief solution-focused therapy, strategic therapy, cognitive-behavorial therapy, and play therapy. Most are trained in systems theory and are eclectic in their apporach. Client-centered treatment is at the heart of the YWCA counseling practices.

The YWCA of West Central Michigan is accredited by the Council on Accreditation for Children and Family Services (COA), and evaluates programming in accordance with the "best practice" standards of COA.

Contact Us:

Counseling Center Hours of Operation:

Special arrangements may be made for appointments outside of these hours.


Free childcare is available while accessing services.

Current hours:

Cost of Services:

The YWCA West Central Michigan is able to offer some of our services at no cost. Most of our other services are offered on a sliding fee based on eligibility and ability to pay. We accept most private insurances, Medicaid, and Crime Victims Compensation.


All services of the YWCA Counseling Center are confidential, with exceptions to prevent homicide or suicide, as required by child protection laws, and in accordance with other applicable federal and state laws and regulations.

Counseling Environment:

The YWCA strives to provide an environment that is inviting and sensitive to the economic, cultural, and safety needs of our consumers. We do this by offering:

Domestic Violence Counseling

The YWCA of Grand Rapids has been providing professional counseling in the area of domestic violence since 1977.

Domestic Violence is physical or emotional abuse committed upon a person by a spouse, former spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, or cohabitant. For women in the United States this occurs every 15 seconds (Bureau of Justice). Domestic violence impacts those with whom the family comes into contact in the neighborhood, school or workplace. Survivors can suffer many long-term emotional effects of the abuse, such as self-neglect, self-injury, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and sleep disorders.

YWCA counseling services address needs beyond the immediate physical safety that our shelter provides. The interventions of the counseling programs are specifically designed to address the needs of victims of domestic violence and their families who are experiencing trauma or unsafe living conditions. While in counseling, consumers are provided with an assessment which includes identifying medical, mental health and social service needs. When necessary, safety plans with links to community resources are developed. A personalized plan for growth, facilitating recovery and safety is developed and pursued.

Men Choosing Alternatives to Violence is a six-month group counseling program for men who are court referred, or who voluntarily request help in stopping abusive behavior. Participants are assessed for, and participate in, a 26-week psycho-educational group designed to interrupt the cycle of abusive behavior. These services are provided at a separate location from all other counseling and crisis services.

The YWCA participates in the Kent County Domestic Violence Action Team, the Kent County Emergency Shelter Needs Task Force, the Kent County Continuum of Care, the Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, Legal Aid of Western Michigan, Resources Against Violent Encounters (RAVE), Batterers Intervention Services Coalition, and other community and statewide initiatives that focus on physical and sexual abuse.

Child Sexual Abuse Treatment Services

The YWCA has been providing professional counseling in the area of child sexual abuse since 1982.

Sexual abuse of a child occurs when there is a sexual interaction, either physical, verbal or visual, between a child and another individual who occupies a power position in that child’s life. This act is exploitive, as the child does not have the developmental capacity, or may not be in the social position, to understand or resist the contact. Force or pressure on the victim to engage in the sexual act need not be present for the interaction to be abusive.

The abuse may include a range of behaviors; indecent exposure, exposure to pornography, propositioning for sexual acts, sexualized teasing through forced sodomy, and vaginal rape.

Child sexual abuse is often identified in children when other behavioral problems draw attention to the child. Child victims endure increased risk of developing psychological problems including: They are three times more likely to develop major depression. They are at higher risk to abuse substances and experience school difficulties, engage in teenage prostitution, contract STDs, and experience eating disorders. They are vulnerable to additional sexual assault and domestic violence. As adults they experience greater struggles in child-rearing and fearing parent-child intimacy (Archives of General Psychiatry 2000, American Journal of Psychiatry 2000). The trauma surrounding childhood sexual assault affects long-term quality of life and impacts future generations.

The YWCA Counseling Center provide services, not only to child victims, but also to family members who are affected by the abuse, and who must support that child’s recovery and facilitate long-term safety. The program offers individual, group and family therapy, psychiatric services, educational and support groups, and advocacy to families experiencing incest or non-familial sexual abuse. Depending on the victim and family’s needs, service delivery can range from a matter of weeks to several months.

The YWCA has contractual/collaborative arrangements with Department of Human Services to provide therapy services to consumers that they identify as being in need of counseling due to child sexual abuse. Services are also available to individuals and families seeking help independently.

Sexual Assault Counseling

The YWCA has been providing professional counseling in the area of sexual assault since 1990.

Sexual assault is described as unwanted sexual contact either through force or coercion. The assault could be committed by a stranger, but most often is committed by an acquaintance, partner or former partner. In the United States, someone is sexually assaulted every two minutes (RAINN calculation based on 2002 National Crime Victimization Survey, Bureau of Justice Statistics, U. S. Department of Justice).

Sexual assault is one of the most devastating events that a person can experience. This crime affects its victims by disrupting their daily lives, resulting in a decrease in their independence and ability to adapt. Individuals may experience difficulty concentrating, nightmares, sleep disturbances, changes in appetite, fears, general anxiety and depression. Collectively, these symptoms are known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Thirty percent of rape victims experience at least one major depressive episode in their lifetime (National Victim Center, 1992). Rape victims are nine times more likely than non-victims to have attempted suicide (Heise, 1992). The trauma surrounding sexual assault affects long-term quality of life and impacts future generations.

YWCA Sexual Assault counseling services are available to survivors who are 13 years of age and older. The program offers individual, group and family therapy, psychiatric services, support groups, and advocacy services to those affected by sexual assault.
YWCA services for sexual assault survivors assist individuals in being less vulnerable to future assault by replacing low self-esteem, fear, hopelessness, and a trauma-based view of the world with a sense of resiliency, courage, empowerment and self-care. Our participants are able to engage in life choices that reflect an internal sense of value and respect for others.

Therapeutic services are delivered with sensitivity to the legal/investigative elements of the criminal case, when applicable. Following privacy and confidentiality protocol and the wishes of the consumer, program staff coordinate their services with a variety of law enforcement jurisdictions, the prosecutor's office, Victim Witness, psychiatrists, health care providers, and/or case managers, who all provide parallel support and therapy services to our consumers.

The YWCA is a member of the Sexual Assault Action Team of the Violence Prevention Coalition of the Kent County Health Department. The YWCA is a member of the Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. We coordinate with Resources Against Violent Encounters (RAVE), an agency that provides prevention and education in high schools and colleges, along with many other community and statewide initiatives responding to physical and sexual violence.

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YWCA West Central Michigan | 25 Sheldon Boulevard SE | Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Email Us | Phone: 616-459-4681 | Fax: 616-459-5423
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